Editorial Reviews. Review. Una gran novela de los fracasos de nuestros tiempos. Buy El testigo (Compactos) (Spanish Edition): Read 7 Kindle Store Reviews – In my opinion El Testigo is one book that every literature oriented student must read. It’s a historic fiction book that tells certain aspects in López Velarde’s life in. : El testigo/ The Witness (Spanish Edition) () by Juan Villoro and a great selection of similar New, Used and Collectible Books.
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Essay by Chris Andrews Tags: The following piece is an excerpt from the novel El TestigoThe Witness published in Spanish by Anagrama and currently unpublished in English.
It is translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews. Andrews previously published chapter 1 of El Testigo in the journal Common Knowledge volume 13, issues 2 and 3 Only in Lisbon had he felt, as he did in Jerez, that every corner of the city was inhabited by its most eminent poet. At an intersection, a woman came up and stared him in the face, fixedly, as if she were searching for a mole by which to recognize him. She must have been about eighty years old.
Maybe her eyesight was very poor or she had mixed him up with someone else. Maybe she was just crazy. To escape from that stare Julio slipped into a clothing store for the well-groomed cowboy. Snakeskin boots, exorbitantly priced belts of embroidered leather, silver buckles, hats with brims of all shapes and sizes, rococo neckerchiefs, intricately worked spurs, a curious blend of toughness and outrageous vanity.
When he came out again, the street was empty. The sound of a jukebox carried sadly from a distance. He walked along the avenue, among strollers stopping to buy balloons, fruit drinks and lottery tickets. A rustic, relatively prosperous Mexico, with no visible indigenous population. He went into the Hinojosa Theater. A wall in the lobby was being painted. A man in overalls was copying the design of a frieze from a card. There was a smell of fresh paint and linseed oil.
El testigo by Juan Villoro
Somewhere a bird was singing. The seats were not fixed to the floor; it was like a Wild West movie set. He lingered in that space reminiscent of vanished elegance, of a time when the intellectuals of the province had striven to invent an affordable Paris, then went into a box, sat down and contemplated the stage. When your feet get used to the land around here, you hardly need to lift them. We like to take wee little steps.
I like sitting in this box, but when I saw you come in and stumble among the chairs, it was as if you were running away from me. That folder of yours is almost the size of a briefcase. The voice fell silent. When it spoke again, it sounded listless, as if the speaker had moved in order to remain concealed and in so doing had exhausted himself. They accepted my passport, no problem; it was tough in those days. Now the kids can get across without papers.
Even the hairdresser accepts payment in US currency. Even pomegranate punch and tranquilizers are priced in dollars. You know what I mean by tranquilizers? When I first came to this town, the women used to go away to work as servants. A place full of weak men, living alone.
The women would send money home.
e Would you like me to recite you a poem? Julio was going to make a request, but the voice continued without waiting for an answer, in the emphatic, grating tone of the professional reciter:. Where could she be now, the girl who told me jaun we danced one night in that wretched place, how she longed to travel and how bored she was. After the final stanza, Julio waited a few moments. There was no reply. He left the box, made his way through the chairs, climbed onto the stage and looked around the theater.
The reciter had gone. There was a cardboard envelope hanging on one side, in which he deposited a ten-peso bill. Girl who told me, as we danced one night in that wretched place the secrets of your boredom: He went back to the park and sat on a wrought-iron bench with floral motifs.
A pick-up with Texas plates pulled up in front of him. The back was full of electrical appliances. Julio stood up, on the alert. The driver pulled aside a blanket to reveal a rosy mosaic of pornographic videos.
Julio felt he was being watched. Julio stared back at her. She crossed herself with baroque flourishes. He returned to the bench with its metal flowers, and dozed until a voice roused him from his torpor:. A tall man with a white Texan hat was blocking the sun.
Although his shoulders were hunched, his denim shirt covered firm muscles. It was eel to keep up with him. His big suitcase was squeezed into the back of the truck between two sacks of flour.
They drove down narrow, poorly surfaced roads, then turned onto an endless and definitively unsealed track.
The semi-arid landscape, covered with cacti as high as villlro pick-up, was occasionally traversed by the flight of a zenzontle or by stone walls, which rather than marking the limits of ranches or fields, seemed to be capricious delineations separating one identical stretch of desert from the next.
A sky of purest blue cried out to be streaked by a vapor trail, but all they saw was the red spot of a light plane, which left no trace. Two jhan later they came to some small wooden sheds intended to provide shelter for a few villoro. It was impossible to imagine anyone spending the night there.
They continued on their way. In his youth, he had known Eleno, but had not paid him much attention.
Now he spoke only in order to get something done, having no time for the kind of conversation in which people evoke situations that cannot be modified. Julio began to drowse but was periodically jolted awake by bumpy patches on the track. For decades, submarines had provided the dominant metaphor for his life: A shortage of space.
Tight passages, subway tunnels, hatches. He lived in a ship, below decks, with too many people around him to feel like his screen hero: Delon in Le Samourai. They wound the windows down. The noise of the wind filled and eased the awkward silence between them. As children, Julio, Nieves and the others liked to see how many lizards they could put on his desk before he reacted: He came from a long line of complainers, but seemed indifferent to the most egregious irritations.
One night, half the ceiling of his room vllloro he turned over and went on snoring. Donosiano had lived most of his life with Aunt Florinda. Both had long since accepted their unmarried status. Each was already so individually eccentric that an incestuous relationship between them would have been unimaginable. In the juddering pick-up full of swirling dust—it was too hot to close the windows—Julio remembered how much his grandparents, parents, uncles, cousins and second cousins enjoyed dunking cookies juuan their cups of milky coffee.
Perhaps some genetic defect obliged them to organize their existences around a sweetened beverage. As long as they could go on nibbling soggy cookies, the world would make sense for them. That was the pivot, the linchpin.
They had lost their ranches and their city houses but they had always been able to suck on a cookie. They complained, of course, but they could lick their fingers, sticky all the way down to the palm.
Only Uncle Donosiano hated cookies. That was the source of his strength. Actually, Aunt Florinda hated them too, but that was neither here textigo there.
In the 18th century it had been a smelter for the local mines. In the third courtyard, there were stone channels in which mercury had once retained the precious residues, and cupels which had turned out purified gold by the bagful.
There the ore was refined and transformed into metal. The founder of the estate was an embittered Asturian. His father had told him that he would come to nothing: When he acquired an estate he baptized it defiantly: The plural intensified his revenge: Donosiano had prepared the meeting carefully. But it was hard vliloro nail the priest down. He had various irons in the fire: